Closing Thought–11Dec18

Does anyone remember the name of BUNDY?

They began their rise with a stand off about some cattle in a wildlife refuge….it then escalated later onto a bird sanctuary and a confrontation with Federal agents….now the son of the elder Bundy has decided that the militia movement is bogus…..in solidarity with the so-called “caravan”…….

Ammon Bundy is best known as a leading light of the American militia movement (a motley coalition of various different flavors of firearms enthusiasts who hate the federal government). He’s famous for getting into armed standoffs with federal agents and violently occupying bird sanctuaries. His friends are the kind of folks who co-chair pro-Trump veterans groups; his father is the kind of man who says, “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro” — and proceeds to explain why black people were “better off as slaves.”

So, this being 2018, Bundy naturally just disavowed the militia movement in solidarity with the migrant caravan, suggested that nationalism is actually the opposite of patriotism, and said that Trump’s America resembles nothing so much as 1930s Germany.

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/ammon-bundy-quits-militia-movement-defends-migrant-caravan.html

Now I want to hear the retort from the alt-Right that held the Bundys up as the saviors of America…..

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Weekly Standard–End Of Days

The title does not imply that this will be some sort of religious rant…..have NO fear I leave those commentaries to those that feel it necessary to share……this post is about the impending doom of a pillar of neo-conservatism….the Weekly Standard.

Political magazines depend on the largesse of motivated patrons for their survival. When the patrons lose interest—or run short on cash—the magazines expire unless other moneybags can be located to cover the losses. Following that eternal script, the Weekly Standard appears close to folding because its current patron—and most important reader—billionaire conservative Philip Anschutz, has grown tired of it. He better favors his other conservative political publication, the Washington Examiner, which his company announced plans on Monday to “expand into a national distributed magazine with a broadened editorial focus.” In other words, the Standard is dying so the Examiner can live larger.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/12/06/weekly-standard-never-trump-magazine-222766

Since 1995 the Weekly Standard has been a driving force of neo-conservative thought…..from the mind of Bill Kristol sprang a magazine that became a go to source for just about everything neocon……Neocon?…….but just what is a Neocon?

It appears that the magazine that help spread misinformation about Iraq to help make the case for the invasion and occupation and a driving force in the opposition to Iran….is looking like it is dead in the water……

The rumored demise of the Weekly Standard is yet another of Donald J. Trump’s achievements that will go uncelebrated by his liberal enemies: indeed, they are even now mourning the death of the neoconservative flagship as they never did when it was at the height of its maleficent glory.

And of course neoconservatism’s many fellow-travelers are out there with panegyrics. It “stood up for conservative principle” in the age of Trump, writes Meghan McArdle. What principle this might be, Ms. McArdle somehow neglects to say: perhaps it’s a penchant for perpetual war, the only known characteristic this famously eccentric and variable band hold in common. Both McArdle and the editors of the Standard thrilled their readers with stories of the great danger posed by Saddam Hussein, who they told us had nukes hidden beneath his palace ready to launch at a moment’s notice.

Let’s take a look at the three important roles played by the Standard and its editors in the history of the post-9/11 era.

https://original.antiwar.com/justin/2018/12/09/the-end-of-the-weekly-standard/

Could this be the death of the rabid neocon philosophy?

I think not….maybe a rebrand….but these warmongering toads will be with us….for now.

Gen. Kelly Goes Bye Bye

Another One Bites The Dust!

John Kelly has been the Trump Chief of Staff since the early days of the admin….once Priebus got on the wrong side of Our Supreme Leader….Kelly was an adult in an infantile White House only he could bring sanity to the Oval Office…..well that did not work out as thought…..his spine was not as rigid as we were told.

Personally, I thought in the beginning that he might be a good choice but early on it was illustrated that he would not be anything other than another “yes” man without a spine.

Well word has come out that he will take a powder at the end of this year…..

– It’s official: John Kelly is leaving the White House. “John Kelly will be leaving toward the end of the year,” said President Trump while heading out for the Army-Navy game Saturday, USA Today reports. Rumors had been swirling after White House sources said Kelly was on his way out—and Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence’s most senior aide, might be taking his place, per the Wall Street Journal. “Stop calling John [Kelly] for anything,” President Trump was quoted as saying. “Call Nick. He’s my guy.” But Trump aides warned that Ayers was more a Pence advocate, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly criticized Ayers’ foreign-policy skills. On the plus side, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner—who have bristled under Kelly’s command-and-control style as chief of staff—are said to be pro-Ayers.

Kelly repeatedly clashed with Trump and lost some West Wing authority during his 17-month tenure, per CNN. A former Marine Corps general, Kelly imposed discipline on a freewheeling White House but saw Trump work around his who-gets-to-see-Trump-when rules. Kelly also made his own problems, erupting in a profanity-laced exchange with national security adviser John Bolton, engaging in a “near brawl” with informal Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski, slamming Rep. Frederica Wilson with false information, and apparently mishandling the abuse scandal around ex-staff secretary Rob Porter. Kelly also denied reports that he’d called Trump “an idiot” and considered himself “the lone bulwark against catastrophe” in Trump’s White House. Trump called Kelly “a great guy” in announcing his departure.

They say that the Chief of Staff for Pence will be chosen to take Kelly’s place at the side of Trump…..well maybe not……

President Donald Trump’s top pick to replace chief of staff John Kelly, Nick Ayers, is no longer expected to fill the role, the AP reports. Ayers, who is chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, was seen as the favorite for the job when Trump announced Saturday that Kelly would leave around year’s end. But a White House official said Sunday that Trump and Ayers could not reach agreement on Ayers’ length of service and that he would instead assist the president from outside the administration. Ayers confirmed the decision in a tweet Sunday, thanking Trump and Pence for giving him the opportunity to work in the White House: “I will be departing at the end of the year but will work with the #MAGA team to advance the cause,” he said. (He was actually a somewhat controversial choice.)

It was not immediately clear whether Trump had a new favorite for the post. The official was not authorized to discuss the personnel issue by name and spoke on condition of anonymity. Ayers and Trump had discussed the job for months. The new hire was to be key to a West Wing reshuffling to shift focus toward the 2020 re-election campaign and the challenge of governing with Democrats in control of the House. President Donald Trump is considering four people as he determines who will be his next chief of staff, per the AP. A person familiar with Trump’s thinking says the director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, is among those under consideration to replace John Kelly.

Well CRAP!

Who will be the next person in DC to prove that they have NO spine?

Just A Thought!

Death Of A Journalist

Let say from the onset that the death of a journalist is unacceptable!  Any Journalist!

We all know after months of coverage of the death of WaPo journalist Jamal Khashoggi….all the drama and lies and denial…..it was a tragic situation….and the drama around MbS was just too suspicious to ignore.

But why is his death, Khashoggi, more important than the deaths of other journalists…..about here someone will ask….well if it is such a problem just how many journalists have been killed?

That is an excellent question……in 2017 a total of 81 were killed while doing their job of reporting…..but what about 2018?  Another good question….at last count 48 journalist have been killed this year….if you would like to check the stats then this site will help…..https://cpj.org/data/killed/

I asked these question because of a piece I read in the Gatestone Institute site…….

  • Ironically, the same members of the media who have been obsessed with Khashoggi and the Saudi-US alliance have devoted little space to the reality that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has been imprisoning, torturing and killing journalists for years.
  • The ongoing story of Khashoggi’s murder at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, more than being a function of concern for the Saudi journalist, was less important to Western journalists than attacking the Trump administration.

While the October 2 murder of the Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, continues to be discussed across the world, the November 23 assassination of a Syrian journalist, Raed Fares, and his devoted friend and cameraman, Hammoud al-Jneid, gunned down in Fares’s home village of Kafrandel, Syria.

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/13375/journalists-murder

Like I said any death of a journalist because of his job should be unacceptable and each and every one needs the attention of the world. Stifling the free exchange of opinions should be a crime against humanity and a war crime punishable by death.

All that aside…I have been asked why would this person would want a journalist dead?

Twenty-one years ago, the rising toll of attacks on journalists – and the fact that almost all of the crimes went unpunished – led Unesco to pass a resolution condemning violence against the media. It stressed that assassinations not only cut short individual lives, but attack freedom of expression, exacting a broader toll on society. Today, those concerns are more serious and widespread than ever. Nine in 10 of the more than 1,000 killings condemned by Unesco between 2006 and 2017 remain unsolved. Almost all were local journalists rather than foreign correspondents. Some were killed by criminals, armed groups and terrorists; but others by or on behalf of politicians or parts of the state.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/09/the-guardian-view-on-the-killing-of-journalists-the-truth-in-peril

This seems to be a spiraling problem….the killing of journalists……

Further Reading:

https://www.poynter.org/news/why-they-kill-journalists

Then we have d/bags like this one……https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/06/27/milo-wants-vigilantes-start-killing-journalists-and-hes-not-being-ironic

The Azov Affair

First the US has decided that the old INF Treaty is not as good as it could be……then shortly after Trump’s spoke of his decision the Sea of Azov incident happened…..

Thoughts I had earlier……https://lobotero.com/2018/10/30/the-inf-in-the-rear-view-mirror/

Then my thoughts on the Russia/Ukraine mash-up……https://lobotero.com/2018/11/26/will-calmer-heads-prevail/

Then I read that the US was giving Russia days to comply or suffer……

 After years of claiming Russia is violating the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Tuesday that the US is giving Russia 60 days to comply with the deal.

The big obstacle to this is, despite the US making such allegations for several years, and getting NATO to endorse their narrative, Russia has denied ever violating the deal in the first place, and insists the missile in question, the 9m729, is not banned by the treaty.

The question is based on the missile’s range, with INF banning everything from 500 km to 5,500 km. Russia has only tested the missile to about 400 km, and it is intended to replace a missile that itself was only 400 km. US officials, however, have speculated that the missile has a much longer range

https://theantimedia.com/russia-comply-nuclear-treaty-60-days/

In response to rising tensions…..the Treaty thing and the Azov Affair…..Russia has given their answer by deploying missiles…..

Russia will target countries hosting U.S. missiles if Washington goes ahead with plans to pull out of a landmark Cold War arms treaty, General Staff chief Valery Gerasimov said Wednesday.

“If the INF treaty is destroyed, we won’t leave it without a response,” he said in a presentation to foreign military attaches in Moscow, according to an official transcript. “You as military professionals must understand that the target for Russian retaliation won’t be U.S. territory but the countries where the intermediate-range missiles are deployed.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-05/russia-touts-combat-lasers-amid-u-s-missile-treaty-ultimatum

Just what our military needs yet another conflict to worry about….I think they have their hands full with all the armed conflicts these days…..why not try something novel like….DIPLOMACY?

But then does Ukraine deserve blind support by the Trump Boyz?….My thought is NO…no country deserves blind support…..but I may be alone….or not……

The recent clash between Russian and Ukrainian naval vessels in the Kerch Strait has generated a flurry of alarm. NATO was compelled to call an emergency meeting with Ukraine and the UN Security Council convened an urgent session to discuss the crisis. Exercising their usual tendency to oversimplify murky geopolitical rivalries, Western officials and journalists embraced the knee-jerk narrative that the incident is yet another case of Vladimir Putin’s blatant aggression and “outlaw behavior” against its peace-loving, democratic neighbor. Right on cue, CNN, MSNBC, and other media outlets dispatched stridently anti-Russian editorials masquerading as news stories.

In reality, the Kerch Strait incident involves a complex mixture of factors. They include the tense Russian-Ukrainian bilateral relationship, Kiev’s broader foreign policy objectives, and Ukraine’s volatile domestic politics.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/ukraine-doesnt-deserve-americas-blind-support/

These situations with Russia have the possibility of turning ugly quickly……

Learn Stuff!

Thoughts?

Those Lying Eyes

First the big guns came to town….SecDef and SecState and waltzed in front of the US Senate and lied their asses off…..that may not be fair….they were told what to say to Senators (The Trump Line)……and apparently it was all bullsh*t.

To their benefit I will say that some Senators were put off because the CIA head was not in line to brief and they, Senators, wanted to know why…..

Their threats and bitching got the CIA director a trip to brief a few Senators……

Last week’s Senate briefings surrounding a challenge to the Yemen War were less about the limited testimonies of Mike Pompeo and James Mattis than about the conspicuous absence of CIA Director Gina Haspel. That, and reported admissions from the secretaries that she was forbidden from attending the closed door briefing, fueled a lot of anger in the Senate, and by extension growing resistance to the Yemen War.

In a sign that the White House fears losing the war vote outright, they’re now letting Haspel hold her own briefing Tuesday, for a very limited audience of what the administration believes are “key” senators, mostly committee leaders.

The focus of this briefing will be Saudi Arabia’s murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and the CIA’s assessment that the Saudi Crown Prince was involved. The murder is adding to pressure in Congress to stop supporting Saudi wars, and Yemen would be the obvious choice in that regard.

Letting Haspel testify is a concession to the Senate, but the big question will be what she says. Clearly the whole reason she wasn’t allowed in the first place was fear she’d back the CIA’s assessment and hurt the Saudis. If she still does that, it would be strange to think it would placate any senators.

(antiwar.com)

After the briefing the Senators came before the cameras and made the case of MbS being a killer……

Senators came out of a closed-door briefing with CIA Director Gina Haspel on Tuesday with some pretty unequivocal opinions about Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s involvement in Jamal Khashoggi’s October death. What you need to know:

  • Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker put it like so: “If the Crown Prince went in front of a jury, he would be convicted in 30 minutes.”
  • NPR points out that when senators were briefed by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week, Mattis said there was no “smoking gun” that showed the crown prince’s hand in the murder. Sen. Lindsey Graham picked up that thread Tuesday, saying there may not be a smoking gun, but there is a “smoking saw,” a reference to the bone saw allegedly used to dismember the journalist in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul. He added there is “zero chance” the crown prince, whom he described as a “wrecking ball,” didn’t play a part, reports the AP.
  • And the New York Times has this from Sen. Richard Shelby: “All evidence points to that, that all this leads back to the crown prince. This is conduct that none of us in America would approve of in any way.”
  • The Washington Post’s take: “Senators put themselves in direct opposition to the White House, making clear that the evidence they heard had convinced them beyond the shadow of a doubt.”
  • And while they were fairly united as it relates to Prince Mohammed, the Times sees senators as being much less unified when it comes to where to go from here, on the heels of last week’s vote to consider ending the US’ involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. The Hill has much more on the efforts and sticking points around the legislation here.
  • The AP reports that vote set up debate on the resolution, but when, or even whether, that will happen is unclear, as senators are considering whether to amend the measure, and, if so, how.
  • As for who was allowed to participate in the briefing, the Post reports only Senate leaders and the ranking senators on select committees involved in national security and Saudi policy as it relates to Yemen were included.

Politico reports Rand Paul didn’t number among them, and he wasn’t pleased with that, saying all senators should have heard Haspel’s testimony. “There are eight people in Congress who get briefings on intelligence. That is not democracy. That is not democratic representation nor is it democratic oversight. I think the very definition of the deep state is when the intelligence communities withhold information from Congress.”

My apologies to Haspel for I thought that her time away from first briefing was that the admin was trying to get all lies to confirm their, the admin, position.

And now that the “rest of the story” has been told there seems to be a “showdown” in the Senate brewing….

The Senate is barreling toward a floor brawl over how to respond to Saudi Arabia’s role in the slaying of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Senators took a significant step this week advancing a bipartisan resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, marking a sharp break from President Trump, who has stood by Riyadh and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, even in the face of reports that the prince personally ordered Khashoggi’s death.

But now, lawmakers need to figure out what a final bill will look like as they prepare to take a next step of bringing the resolution up for debate — and a potentially raucous floor drama. The war powers fight is uncharted waters for a Senate that has repeatedly rejected attempts to challenge the White House’s war authority.

https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/419214-senate-headed-clash-over-saudi-arabia

It will be telling by the conclusion of this Senatorial fight……admin and Senate at odds…cannot end well for either side….but will win this battle?

Death In The Middle East

Closing Thought–03Dec18

Yet another death of an American soldier in the Middle East (actually he was a sailor)……

Some sad news came out over the weekend…the top commander in the Middle East was found dead in his home in the island nation of Bahrain…..

The admiral leading American Naval forces in the Middle East turned up dead at his Bahrain residence Saturday, CNN reports. Vice Adm. Scott Stearney’s death is under investigation, but media reports say there’s no evidence of foul play. “This is devastating news for the Stearney family, for the team at Fifth Fleet, and for the entire Navy,” says Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations. The Fifth Fleet is part of the US Navy’s Naval Forces Central Command, which controls operations in areas including the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. America sees those Naval Forces as a deterrent to Iran and Iran-supported Houthi rebels, which are considered possible threats to regional shipping.

Stearney, a 36-year Navy veteran, took command in the Middle East in May and led more than 200,000 US service members and civilians, per NBC News. The Navy website says he was a Chicago native who graduated from the University of Notre Dame and in 1982 entered the Navy, where he was an aviator and flew the FA-18 Hornet in strike fighter squadrons. He has served several commands and was chief of staff of a Joint Task Force in Kabul, Afghanistan. The Bahraini Ministry of Interior and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service are looking into his death, Reuters reports.

The gossip around right now is that he may have committed suicide……I give the reference only to show what is being said not as an indictment……..https://thehill.com/policy/defense/419299-top-navy-admiral-was-found-dead-in-apparent-suicide

IST offers all condolences to the family and friends of Commander Stearney…..the nation lost a brave man……Rest in Peace.